Central African Republic (MNN) — What is happening in the Central African Republic is becoming a brutal echo of the Rwandan conflict 20 years ago.
Wayne DeJong is the director of disaster response and rehabilitation at World Renew. He says while the unrest in CAR began March 24, 2013, it got worse. “The country more or less descended into chaos in December and has now become a level 3 emergency, which is the highest level of crisis response.”
It actually goes back before last March. Since December 2012, the CAR has been experiencing political and social instability as well as insecurity. Following the coup in March 2013, the country has seen the disruption of normal life, human rights violations, and the massive displacement of populations. DeJong explains, “The UN is now calling it one of the most silent and forgotten emergencies in the world, with now about 600,000 people displaced within the country and 290,000 refugees in neighboring countries.”
According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, many thousands of these refugees are fleeing to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of the Congo, Chad, and Cameroon. DeJong adds, “The Central African Republic has a population of 4.6 million, and over half of them are now in need of assistance.”
However, despite repeated UN calls to raise support for these refugees, the sheer number of aggravated simultaneous crises has siphoned off funds. “Pray for support from the international community because only about 20% of the needs in the country are being met by outside resources,” explains DeJong.
Yet, World Renew couldn’t simply contact their staff in CAR and release needed funds. Working through partners in the ACT Alliance and Integral Alliance, they are assessing needs and providing emergency aid. DeJong goes on to say this is more than a physical approach. “This is definitely another opportunity for us to show God’s Love to people who are in need, and also to demonstrate that the Christian God is a God of love, and not violence.”
“Pray for wisdom and discernment as we develop our response and develop our relations with the partner organizations, working with local communities to do needs assessments,” DeJong requests. “Pray for safety, of course, because it is a dangerous place in which to work.” World Renew will help provide urgently-needed supplies to vulnerable families. This may include the provision of food, water, sanitation, and hygiene in camps for internally displaced people.
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